By Gabriel Olawale
A Consultant Paediatric Oncologist and Lecturer, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Professor Edamisan Temiye, has warned pregnant women to minimize their exposure to radiation during pregnancy with a view to preventing unborn babies from cancer.
Temiye who spoke during a walk against cancer organised by Children Living With Cancer Foundation, CLWCF, weekend in Lagos, said that children exposed to x-ray radiation during pregnancy has high chances of developing cancer.
He added that children with body abnormalities have predisposition factor to cancer, “There are some genetic factors responsible for childhood cancer, if half of a child body is bigger than the other the chance of developing cancer is high. If you have identical twins and one of them developed cancer, the chance of the other one develop cancer is very high.
Temiye who is a specialist in childhood cancer and blood disorder in children further called on the government to intensify awareness on the prevalence of the disease in Nigeria, stressing the need for designated centres for treatment of childhood cancer. According to him, “Childhood cancer is curable if discovered early. It is far more curable than that of adult, but the rapidity to death is faster more in children than in adult.
“Government need to support the training of health personnel in the area of cancer management in children. They also need to make medication for treatment available because the medication is very costly.
“Nigeria hospital needs to be equipped to be able to diagnosed cancer very fast and correctly because there are some cancers in children that have similar description of which using ordinary microscope does not diagnosed such cancer,” he stated.
On her part, the Founder, Children Living with Cancer Foundation, CLWCF, Dr. Nneka Nwobbi, regretted that many children living with cancer have died because their parents could not cope with the treatment cost.
“Overseas we have up to 80 to 90 percent cure rates. In Nigeria we have less than 20 percent cure rate. Why? It is not because of man power or facilities but ignorance.”
Many people do not know that children can have cancer. By the time they come in nothing much can be done only palliative treatment.
Nwobbi explained that the walk against childhood cancer was the sixth in series since inception of the foundation 14 years ago.
“In our foundation, we create awareness and give free drugs. If we look at the child background and we discovered that they could not avoid the treatment we usually help them solicited for support to pay for pay for surgery, radiotherapy among others and there are still some children on our waiting list that need Nigerians assistance to stay alive.
The Group Chief Operating Officer, AFRI GLOBAL MEDICARE, Sandeep Kapoor who participated in the walk also hinted their plans to support Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, through the foundation to carry out subsidized diagnosis for children and with time will extend the partnership to other areas.